He then tweaked a very basic starting point of SPY/AGG into a combo of SPY and some different bond funds such that the stock bonds mix was 40/60 yielding a more balanced mix of risk between stocks and bonds. What Moser appears to be doing is something that Cliff Asness from AQR has talked about which is allocating risk not necessarily allocating asset classes.
Moser is asking some good questions but I could not find where he tells us why it makes for poor portfolio construction to have 95% of the risk (again he did not define what he meant) isolated in the equity exposure. What he seems to be saying is that risk (what he means by the word) should be more balanced between the two asset classes so I think he was saying allocate more to bond but take more risk with your bonds and then you can have less exposure to equities.
This doesn't make a lot of sense to me, if that is what he is saying, for a couple of reasons. First, depending on how more risk is taken in the fixed income market you might as well be in equities; at times the correlation between equities and high yield debt can be very high. The other thing is that many people think they own any fixed income at all to offset normal stock market volatility (volatility and risk are not the same thing).
If that is the reason that many investors own fixed income (I believe it is) then it is not clear what the benefit would be to less equities but increasing the risk of the fixed income allocation. Also missing from the discussion was the fact that risk can change over time. Generically speaking the US ten year has more risk at 1.7% than it did at 2.7% than it did at 5.7%. Bond risk going forward could be much different than it was looking back.
I would say that I do not believe that the risk needs to be allocated in the manner that I think Moser is talking about. If the conversation gravitates to several different asset classes as Asness is talking about then that could very well be a different story.
Again, I think the article ask a very good question. Having a suitable asset allocation is a crucial element to a financial plan succeeding but it is also difficult to construct. Go too aggressive and the risk becomes panic selling at a generational low but going too conservative could result of course in coming up short.
For now I will continue to view equities as the core asset class and use the other asset classes to try to smooth out the ride and reduce correlation. At our firm this obviously includes fixed income and gold for almost every client but also but has also included foreign currency and absolute return.
The second picture is from the training I attended over the weekend, we are about to go in and find the fake baby. It was very hot but at least it was unusually humid...